A reader of ours contacted us about finding a little worm crawling on him after coming inside with dogs. He asks that we help him identify this worm, which appears to be clear, with a black inside.
First of all, props to our reader for sending in such a clear picture, as well as a crisp-quality video (see link below) showcasing the worm making its way down a butter knife. Unfortunately, our reader did not provide much information about the worm other than that he found the worm crawling on him after coming inside with his dogs. Based on its appearance and size, we might guess that this worm is a flea larva, or perhaps even a cockroach larva. However, it is the way it moves in the video, contracting and extending its body to move forward (like a caterpillar) that throws us off, because neither flea nor cockroach larvae tend to move like that. In addition to this, on one hand, this worm appears much too large to be any of the two, though on the other, there are different species of each creature, and anomalies can occur. Of the two, we would say it is most likely a flea larva, especially since this event is linked to dogs, who often have to deal with fleas.
Assuming that this worm is a flea larva, it is important that we cover some basic characteristics and behavioral traits of this creature. Fleas are insects that feed off the blood of their prey on the outside of their body, making them external parasites. They feed most commonly on dogs and cats, and cases of them feeding on humans are uncommon, though not unheard of. One should be wary of fleas, as they are known to carry other internal parasites. Flea larvae in particular do not feed on animals, but on the droppings of mature fleas, which is referred to as ‘flea dirt’. Yet, this does not mean that our reader’s dogs could not be infested with fleas. We encourage our reader to take his dogs to a vet to get them checked for fleas so that they can get proper diagnosis and treatment if this is the case. Additionally, vacuuming and laundering all fabric/soft areas that his dogs frequent (carpets, cushions, etc.) will be important in ensuring the removal of more flea eggs and larvae.
Nevertheless, we cannot be sure this worm is a flea larva, nor can we be sure it actually came from outside. It could have already been inside our reader’s house. We urge our reader to be wary for other signs of more of these worms. Although it was a while ago our reader wrote to us, one piece of advice that is generally helpful when dealing with the larva of a creature is to put it in a container with holes and some organic matter and wait to see what it grows into. The more mature an insect is, the easier it becomes to identify, as they develop unique characteristics. As a result, one is able to give and get more appropriate advice for how to deal with that creature in particular. If our reader wishes to read about some effective methods of combating any worm, we have an article written not long ago that he is welcome to check out.
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In conclusion, the worm our reader found after coming inside with his dogs may be a flea larva, though we cannot be certain. We hope that our reader was still able to extract something useful from this article, and that he and his dogs are doing well.